If the idea of ‘leg day’ conjures up images of squat racks, legs presses and enough machines to put a man on the moon, maybe it’s time to rethink your approach. This back-to-basics workout hits your pins from all angles, focusing on the three biggest movement patterns of the lower body: hinging, lunging and squatting.
It's a three-dimensional approach that promises three-dimensional gains. And the best part? All you need is a pair of dumbbells. Warm up thoroughly and set a timer for 20 minutes. Hit each movement, back-to-back, trying not to drop your dumbbells between each movement.
You’re going to be using a ‘ladder’ format, beginning with one rep of each movement, then adding an additional rep to each, every round. In the first circuit you’ll complete one rep of each (one per leg on your lunges), drop your bells for a quick rest after your squats, before going again and completing two reps of each. Continue in this fashion, adding reps each round, until the buzzer sounds.
How many reps can you hit?
1. Dumbbell Deadlift x 1, 2, 3 , 4... etc.
With your dumbbells on the floor just outside your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, ‘pushing the ground away’ with your feet, squeezing your glutes at the top (B). Your arms should be hanging straight throughout this movement, think of them as hooks.
2. Alternating Forward Lunge x 1, 2, 3 , 4... etc. (per leg)
Stand tall after your final deadlift (A). Keeping your chest up at all times, take a step forward with one leg, bending the at the knee until the back knee touches the ground (B). Stand up explosively, pause and repeat with the other leg.
3. Alternating Reverse Lunge x 1, 2, 3 , 4... etc. (per leg)
Stand tall (A). Keeping your chest up at all times, take a step backward with one leg, bending your front knee until the back knee touches the ground (B). Stand up explosively, pause and repeat with the other leg.
4. Front Squat x 1, 2, 3 , 4... etc.
Once you’ve completed your lunges perform your squats by cleaning the bells onto the front of your shoulders (A). From here, drop into a front squat, until your thighs pass parallel to the ground (B), before driving back up. By this point, your grip and upper back may be tiring but don’t relax. Keeping your core tight throughout is crucial.
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